The United States is home to a unique blend of cultures, each one with its own set of stories to tell. Indigenous tribes share a particularly rich oral tradition. Like many cultures, they’ve used storytelling to help explain the world around them. When science was not as advanced, ancient peoples often explained events like natural disasters as the work of the Great Spirit or the powerful connective forces of mother nature.
Though cultures and customs vary across hundreds of indigenous American nations, one thing they share in common is their belief that the universe is bound together by spirits of natural life—animals, plants, water, wind, sky, and even the Earth itself.
From powerful Hopi warrior spirits to the brave Cherokee water spider, let’s learn more about the empowering legends behind this season’s Native Artists graphic tunics and tees.
This year, we’ve packed our bags and set out to explore a world a little closer to home. Our trip across the US begins in the south, where sunshine rules and hospitality is a way of life. See how the culture and creativity of the region inspired our latest spring styles.
At Tea, curiosity is at the heart of everything we do. Twice a year, we set off for a new country in search of new inspiration and new experiences. We seek out the foreign, immersing ourselves in the customs, colors, tastes and sounds of distant cultures. We relish in the wonder and uniqueness of our discoveries, and venture to find familiar, common threads.
While it’s always exciting to explore faraway places, there’s so much beauty and diversity right here in our own backyard. This year, we’re staying close to home and getting to know our neighbors all over the US—a nation that’s as diverse in its geography as it is in its citizenry. From sea to shining sea, people are what make this place so extraordinary. Inspired by first nation peoples and immigrants from all corners of the globe, our 2018 collection celebrates the cultures and creative spirit that make us all uniquely American. This land is our land—come explore!
The US is home to people of many cultures, identities, and walks of life. Some of us are here because generations ago our great grandparents and great, great grandparents left their home countries and set sail to a new land filled with promise of hope and opportunity. Others emigrated more recently. And then there are those whose ancestry traces back to the first people to call the US their home.
Our 2018 collection embarks on a journey across America, exploring its kaleidoscope of cultures and celebrating the communities that make each region so unique. Honoring America’s first cultures, this season, we collaborated with indigenous artists all over the country to create original art that’s true to tribal tradition and designed to inspire curiosity.
Learn more about the inspiration behind our exclusive Native Artists x Tea Collection designs.
The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture opened in 1931, with a mission to collect and preserve Southwest Native American material culture. On our visit, we were so inspired by the Pueblo pottery found in the collection that we felt passionate about bringing the patterns to life in our newest Tea designs. Antonio Chavarria—curator of Ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and resident of Santa Clara Pueblo—beautifully explains the importance pottery plays in the lives of Pueblo communities.
Born and raised in northeastern Oklahoma, Martha Berry is a renown Cherokee beadwork artist. Taught to use a needle and thread by her beloved grandmother, she made a career as a seamstress for a touring ice show at the age of 20. Years later, she turned her skill to the traditional beadwork of her Cherokee ancestors, leading the revival of this iconic Southeastern tribal art form. In 2013, she was designated a Cherokee National Living Treasure, and today she’s here to share her story with you.
One of the nation’s leading American Indian artists, Oklahoma-based Benjamin Harjo Jr. is an award-winning Absentee Shawnee-Seminole painter and printmaker best known for his highly stylized geometric forms and use of boldly saturated colors. His art evokes a vibrant, storytelling quality, with imagery that echoes traditional Seminole, Navajo, Plains Indian, and Northwest Coast designs. A very busy and talented artist, we were lucky enough to catch him for a brief Q&A. Here’s what we learned about his life and work.